Beauty is the manifestation of internal radiance in form—even from a treePhoto by: Piotr Krzeslak

When you work for the common good, one of the blessings is meeting people  who work from the deepest place in their hearts, inspiring others to be their best selves and reach to the depths of their own gifts and creativity. Deena Metzger is one of those people, the physical expression of the Wise Woman archetype. A multi award winning poet, novelist, essayist, storyteller, teacher, healer and medicine woman, she has taught and counseled for over fifty years. She conducts training programs on the spiritual, creative, political, and ethical aspects of healing and peacemaking, both individually and globally, drawing deeply on alliance with spirit, indigenous teachings, and the many wisdom traditions. One focus is on uniting Western medical ways with indigenous medicine traditions. She is the author of many books, including the novels A Rain of Night Birds (2017), La Negra y Blanca (2012 PEN Oakland Josephine Miles Award for Excellence in Literature), Feral, Ruin and Beauty: New and Selected Poems, From Grief Into Vision: A Council, Doors: A Fiction for Jazz Horn, Entering the Ghost River: Meditations on the Theory and Practice of Healing, The Other Hand, What Dinah Thought, Tree: Essays and Pieces, The Woman Who Slept With Men to Take the War Out of Them, and Writing For Your Life. You can find more information on her website, DeenaMetzger.net. One of my favorite quotes she says is, “Beauty appears when something is completely, absolutely, and openly itself.” 

It is a pleasure and honor to share this conversation with Deena. 

Resources mentioned in this podcast: 

The 19 Ways (also available as an online course)

Social Venture Circle

The Burden of Light

Transcript

Susan: I’m interested in speaking with you for many reasons. Your deep spiritual connection with the Earth, and spirit, your interest in using that as an activist. But what I would like to share with the people who listen to this is what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. The ReVersing Extinction retreat. The 19 Ways online course. Whatever you want to say to share what you think is important, and you’re totally welcome to read a poem and list your books, or whatever you think, because all of your work in my mind is genuinely out there to help, not to promote yourself in any way. So please feel free to do whatever you want.

Deena: Thank you. This morning, I awakened with the kind of understanding that I think someone can only come to when she’s about my age, and one begins to look back at one’s life. I began to see how everything I’ve done, pretty much my entire life—all my writing, all the trainings, all the teachings, all the traveling, all the connections—can now be summed up by saying we must change our culture. Because all our activities, all our reflexes, everything we do comes from a cultural foundation with certain assumptions, most of which are invisible. And the culture that we are in—ego and power driven, greed driven—is one based on manufacturing a counter system to creation. So artificial intelligence, for example, is an inevitable outcome. And those who are thinking in terms of artificial intelligence as a way to save the world, let’s say, they have some idea—I’m going to just put it out there—they want to replace God. They want to replace divinity. They want to replace creation. They want to be the ones who control everything, from this planet, humans and non-humans, to the entire universe.

So, I think we’re in an incredible crisis of heart and mind. And though I would like not to speak in terms of conflict, I have to say that my entire life, I’ve been called to stand with the natural world—which means standing with beauty, standing with heart, standing with creation, standing with the animals, with the trees, all of that. And now I understand that everything I’ve been doing—ReVisioning Medicine, ReVersing Extinction, Literature of Restoration, 19 Ways, whatever—all of that is to create a foundation, so that we can live natural, organic, beautiful lives in relationship to the Earth. So that’s where I am this morning. And it’s clear to me then, fifty one percent—at least fifty-one percent—of all ways of thinking and being in control or whatever we have to say, has to go to the natural world. The natural world must be back into its state, which is we all do it together. We’re all part of it. It’s not a domination theory. It’s a being present theory.

And what came to me this morning as I was thinking of this conversation that we would have, because we were together—we’ve not only spoken together, but we were together at reversing extinction twice—that the essential premise of reversing extinction is that our minds, science, artificiality, mechanics, whatever we want to call it has brought us here, and we don’t know how to get out of what we have done. And so the ways that I know are to say, first of all, we don’t know. Two, we have to listen deeply. We have to begin to listen deeply to those who have been studying and observing and perceiving the beings of the natural world as they really are. So people like you, Susan, you’ve been living with these animals. Why would I listen to some scientists who go out and draw some blood or make observations for a week or two—or look at an animal in a zoo—when I can go to you? You are living with these animals. You are talking with them every day. Except now the bears, I think, are sleeping.

Susan: They’re thinking about it. It got warm.

Deena: Oh, okay. But you’re really with them. So if I want to find out, get a clue to what a bear is or what a bear might think, I’m going to go to you, right? I’m gonna go to Diana Beresford-Kruger speaking for the trees, because she understands the trees as intelligent beings. I’m going to go to Charlie Russell and Gay Bradshaw. I’m going to go to those who hold and are with the Beings. So, when I try to understand what they are, the other thing we do is we actually ask the beings. Try to develop the skills so we can ask them to collaborate with us. Or better yet, let us collaborate with them. Let us yield to their intelligence, and then ask the spirits in whatever traditions we come from or however we understand something beyond us and say, please help us.

Susan: There’s so much to respond to. Part of your work is asking the spirits, and how do you ask the spirits for the help? Part of your work is working with beauty. Part of your work is trying to change how we’re thinking. Which of these things would you like to expand on?

Deena: We’re going to have to find a way to do all of them at once, because that’s part of the Western mind. It compartmentalizes. And I can’t eliminate beauty from the vitality, let’s say, of the natural world. So even, for example, in ReVisioning Medicine, one of the things that I say is that indigenous medicine and the ways that medicine people work, and ReVisioning Medicine, is essentially beautiful. The activities of healing are beautiful. So beauty is an energy and it’s a force and it’s an intelligence. And I can’t separate it from anything else.

Susan: Yes.

Deena: You know, you look out, and there isn’t a single inch in the natural world that has been untouched by human beings—that is, every single inch untouched by human beings is beautiful.

Susan: What is it that you say beauty is?

Deena: There’s some quote going around by me about what beauty is, and I can’t quite remember it, but it’s something like beauty is when everything is in its place. Beauty is the manifestation of internal radiance in form.

Susan: Oh, that’s lovely.

Deena: Yeah. I like that.

Susan: Is in physical form, you said?

Deena: In form, yeah. It’s manifestation.

Susan: Yeah, right. The internal radiance, I love that. The internal radiance emanating from a tree, from a wolf, from a human, from a bear. Yes.

Deena: Yeah. A leaf on the ground. Right? A dead leaf on the ground with the light hitting it in a certain way is just right.

Susan: Yes.

Deena: Beautiful. And it requires the ability to perceive it.

Susan: Yes.

Deena: And what this culture does with its distractions, and its violence, is it clouds our vision.

Susan: Yes.

Deena: So we can’t see it. We think we’re seeing beauty in a gold bracelet or something, you know. But we don’t see the arsenic in the soil that brought that gold out. We don’t see the suffering of the miners. But when you’re looking at the beauty of the bear, well, you see everything. Because the bear allows you to see herself, himself, fully.

Susan: I’m tempted just to let you talk, rather than ask you questions because such wonderful things come out. I’ll only ask you questions if you don’t have anything you want to say.

Deena: It really helps when you ask me questions. And also then I know that we are in a dialog. But what I was thinking, when there was the pause, that hopefully the listeners were doing what I was doing and what I think you are doing. They were seeing an internal film of moments of beauty they had perceived. And maybe looking at their animals or thinking about their animals or a rose, whatever it is, the way the light falls. I’ve always been interested in light. And I have had moments in my life where I felt the coming of the light at a particular time, in a particular way, was really spirit speaking. So I’m looking out the window with this grove of eucalyptus trees. When I bought this house, this land, it was a complete shack, and it didn’t have water or anything. It was raining, and there was no road, and I’d come up in the mud. I’d been scared to death driving up all of that. And I sat down and looked out at those trees and I said, oh, I can look at these trees for the rest of my life. And it turned out to be true. I absolutely refuse to leave these trees before I leave.

Susan: There are a couple of thoughts I had with respect to what you’re talking about, which is when you’re talking about beauty, you’re talking about how I or another person you’re talking to is essentially starting to replay an inner film, a moment of beauty, and how that works in terms of how we help one another. If you talk about beauty and what it is, if the channels are clear, you’re adding beauty just by talking about it, to someone else’s internal life. And how that works, and how beautiful that is, how we can support one another by sharing these kinds of things. Actually, what you say impacts what’s in my brain or heart or soul, whatever you want to say. And the reverse of it is all the ugliness. You can share the ugliness, too. And that weakens us and makes us desperate. How totally important it is to emphasize beauty. Everything is 180 degrees off. We emphasize beauty as just an extra a little nice fill up on the side. What’s really important is money and power and material goods. And what’s really important, ultimately, is beauty. Which is a variation of, for lack of a better word, spirituality—although that’s got all kinds of colors to it that I don’t want to include.

Deena: Right. Right. Many years ago, I was at Canyon de Chelly in Southeast Arizona. The Four Corners Diné Reservation, Navajo Reservation. I had walked down this long, winding path below these cliffs. And I looked at these cliffs and I heard, inside myself, “This beauty comes from a great heart.” And then I knew that was an incredible transmission. I knew that heart and beauty were the same. And that creation came out of such incredible love. And I think that that love binds all things into an ecological system. You know, the way we’re beginning to understand, the way trees do it, the way their roots interweave with each other. And as I’m talking to you, I can feel the energy of the love that calls the roots to each other. With the fungus, with the water, with, you know, with the soil, with all of it, that there’s an energy, a love energy calling things to coexist and support each other in their existence.

Lynne Margulies, who was an amazing scientist, was the one who took on challenging that we live by competition. And challenging the survival of the fittest. Because her understanding of the history of evolution is that it is a history of cooperation. A history of alliance, of coming together. And it she proved it, you know, incontrovertibly. So if our minds could change so that we could see relationship at the core of everything, everything would shift. And of course, indigenous people understand this perfectly, right? All my relations. We could spend a lifetime trying to understand what that means.

Susan: I have to smile when I listen to you because what you’re talking about is so beautiful and so profound and so true. But the question, of course, is how to help it manifest in the world. How do we change all these different—we now have, what, seven billion brains to try and help realize this?

Deena: I think you had a key to that. When you were speaking before about how speaking of beauty brought forth images of beauty in others. I think if we begin to live consciously, every moment affirming what we know about what matters, let’s say, and live in terms of it, and respond in terms of it, we inspire that in others. And that becomes a field of understanding. I’ve been thinking lately about Rupert Sheldrake’s theory of morphic resonance. And the way I understand it, I think what he’s saying is that our thinking isn’t in our brain. Or our thinking is in a sphere, right, outside ourselves, and our brain is an instrument. But our thoughts and our actions, they all go into it. So right now, going into that are all these memories of beauty, as well as the present observation of it—yours, mine, the listeners, etc. It’s creating a field. It’s like a cloud that emerges from the water that’s in a river here and in a lake there, and in a puddle over there. But once it’s in the cloud, it becomes one thing. And when it rains down on us, then that consciousness can come down and we can tune into it. I don’t understand this yet, but there’s something about being actively engaged in a process of perception that can actually be a pragmatic activism. Because our thinking hasn’t gotten us anywhere. And I think this is also what it means as indigenous people say they think with the heart. They don’t think with the brain.

Susan: Could you explain a little more what you mean by pragmatic activism, how that works when we actively engage?

Deena: Well, you called me an activist to introduce me. And so I’ve been thinking about that since you said it. Pragmatically, I believe that when we gather for ReVersing Extinction—and when we sit together, and we pray, and meditate, and listen, and come together in alliance with the natural world—that the ways we live from then on make a difference. And that our tiniest gestures are different than they would be before. And it’s not about, well, now, what am I going to go back and do? No, I’m going to go back and do all the good things I was doing before. But there’s going to be something different, and it’s going to have a different effect. And I don’t know any other way we’re going to stop extinction and reverse it.

Susan: A couple of thoughts. I always talk about spirituality in the general sense as being practical. It’s eminently practical. What we’re doing now is eminently unpractical. But spirituality leads to practical results. Courage, also for me, is not so much courage as it is practical. Clearly doing something that makes sense. So I went to this conference recently, Social Venture Circle, of well-meaning, heart-centered entrepreneurs trying to have their businesses have an impact and do well in the world. One wanted to work on banks, and one wanted to work on this, and one wanted to work on that. And I began to see the same kind of picture that I see in the—for lack of a better word—environmental movement. We’ll work on the trees, and we’ll work on the water, and we’ll work on the fish. Without—and I haven’t figured out how to express this clearly—but the images is like sort of an overarching sense of connection and spirituality—again, for lack of a better word—something larger than us, from which, first we have to go there, and then from there, whatever action we take is in connection to that. And that in connection to all the other things that are happening. Otherwise we’re just doing pieces and spending lots of energy and money and time and goodwill trying to fix things that will never be fixed. And I can’t quite express how that works or why it’s necessary. And I suddenly realized it’s the same in both. All these capitalists are still within the capitalistic system.

Deena: Right.

Susan: And all the environments—not all, a lot of it—are still seeing trees as trees and bears as bears, and working on saving species and working on crises. We wouldn’t even have the damn crisis if we had this point of view. But how is it possible to make clear what I’m trying to say? Because I know it’s true. And then people say, what do you want me to do, meditate? I just know that if we connect to this larger thing, everything we do will have a coherence. And if we don’t, it’ll be lots of pieces that don’t lead us anywhere.

Deena: Right. And so I’m so with you. Exactly. And what I’m saying to people is that we have to change our minds, that is we have to have different minds related to a different culture. And those minds are informed and shaped by the connection with spirit. A real connection with spirit. Whatever it would mean for any person to yield to that. A true observation of the natural world in its particularity, its interconnected relationships, and the willingness to bear witness to what we’ve done. Look at what kinds of patterns it comes out of, and divest from it internally, as well as externally. If you’re trying to fix an institution and you just want to fix it, you don’t want to change it, well, all these good works, they will mean nothing, as we have seen. It’s an incredible process, internal process. That’s what The 19 Ways are about.

Susan: Could you explain that a little more, because it’s really important.

Deena: Maybe with this interview we could send them out. We could attach it?

Susan: Sure.

Deena: But I received over time a sense of 19 different ways that are principles and ways of consciousness and, in a sense, actions that we needed to really understand. And when I work with it in a training group, what I really say honestly is that each one of them could take a year or a lifetime to work on. The first one is Spirit Exists. What does that mean? That spirit really exists? And how do we individually know it—not from the teachings that are given to us or liturgy or religion—but how do we really know it? And then to be undone and awed—as I think most people are when they feel a presence in their own lives that is irrefutable. The second one is community, how essential community is. And that healing and possibility come out of community. And that we’ve been so alienated from community. So if we get back to a real sense of interconnection and relationship with each other, what a difference it would make. So, for example, we have this president. His instincts are to destroy any bonding—real bonding—that occurs, any community connections. Another one is bearing witness. Actually looking. Without turning away, at the world that we have created and that our ways of life depend on.

Susan: That one’s hard.

Deena: Yeah. So I’m going to read a poem, because I have a new book of poetry. It’s called The Burden of Light. It’s actually very beautiful, because the poems are all printed on pages which have my photographs on them. So this one, which comes in in terms of bearing witness, is called (Animal) Terror. Animal is in parentheses. It’s about the kind of terror that people feel sometimes that they attribute to what would an animal would feel. Has that deep, deep quality to it. Primal quality.

(Animal) Terror

That (animal) terror

considered the worst

that we can experience,

must be within the animal now,

As the animals cannot escape us

anywhere on the earth.

We determine their lives.

We are their persistent and

ever present companions,

their stalkers, their hunters,

their wardens, their killers

their common terrorists,

Their Abu Ghraib

So that poem comes out of a kind of bearing witness. When I can sink into what the animals must feel. The deer that can’t cross the road. The people who put those sirens on their cars so that the animals will be warned, so the animals are hearing the shrieking constantly. Or they’re living with all these lights. Or every time they hear a car or something, this fear goes through them. That’s not natural. And so we have to bear witness to that. As well as those images of what the beaches look like covered with plastic. What the countries look at look like now with all our garbage. And that we are all implicated. If we bear witness, then we can say, I will do everything I can to step out of this. So you bear witness, and you divest, and you do the best you can. And I don’t want to spend any time with people talking about the obstacles to change anymore. I’m done with it. Or how hard it is. I don’t care. Let’s not focus on that. Just as you said earlier, when we focus on that, that’s what comes in. We’ve got to change. We will change. And if we are connected with spirit and community, we can do it.

And then the next one, I think, is the no enemy way. What would it mean, really, to live in a no enemy way? I came to that because the Navajo have an enemy way song healing ceremony. When someone comes back from war, for example, they know that they’re not fit. Even when they come back from going to the city, come back to the reservation. You go the city, you are contaminated. You are not fit to really live in community in the right ways. So they do a ceremony. They do an enemy way ceremony. So I thought since we’re the enemy, clearly, then could we have a no enemy way that would align us with the right relationship with all beings.

And so the 19 Ways go on in that in that way. But each one, if we sit with it and work it in all the ways—like when someone says to you, should I meditate? Sure, you should meditate. But that’s not the answer. If meditation is the way—all ways, let’s not say we’ll do this and then, you know… We do all ways. Always and consistently ongoing. Concern and love for the earth and living accordingly.

Susan: Do you feel this shift happening? Are people seeing this more?

Deena: Oh, yes. Oh, my goodness. Yes. We just did a ReVisioning Medicine council in Los Gatos, and through some accident, the people who came had no idea of what they were coming to. It happened to be a Persian community, a community from Iran. And I think it took about half an hour for them to say, “Oh. Okay, I got it. I’m with you. Yeah.” The book I mentioned before, Speaking for the Trees, or Gay Bradshaw’s book that will come out in the spring called Talking with Bears. Oh, Susan, do you know Charlie Russell’s work?

Susan: Yeah.

Deena: Of course you do. I think we actually you had an interview or something with him.

Susan: No, but I know his work.

Deena: Yeah. These are unusual works, and these are not unusual anymore. Right? We’re reading them and it’s like, oh, yes. And they’re coming out one after another, after another one. One on the intelligence of octopuses. Fish. A bird. Whatever. And then, although those are about different species, they’re all coming together in a kind of consciousness. And they’re beginning to be in the public discourse. And so very few people are saying anymore, “Oh, you’re a tree hugger.” Uh uh. People are saying, “Oh, I am going to embrace a tree. And I also know that I will receive something from that embrace.” And they’re talking about walking in the forest as medicine. And of course, given the minds we have, we try to figure out why it’s medicine. Well, because the pine trees give off this. Whatever people need to understand this. But really, the point is, if you take a medicine walk in the woods, you will be different afterwards. And if you do it often, you will think differently and live differently.

Susan: Yeah.

Deena: You won’t want to cut that tree down.

Susan: Yeah.

Deena: So we’ll find a way to live with less, so we have to wrap less. We have to, you know, do all that. We’ll find ways to trust each other and each other’s bodies so we won’t be so afraid and have to encase everything so that it’s free from the human touch. Or our terror of microbes. You know, we can’t live without the microbes. Or the insects or anything else we’ve been trying to kill off.

Susan: You talked about the 19 Ways and how any one of them you could spend a lifetime with. And yes, that made me think two things. You could spend a lifetime because each of them are so rich. It’s endless, endless, endless further exploration and deepening. The other side of it is we don’t have a lifetime. Does this approach work? The other side of that is, well, there isn’t anything else. We have to do it anyway, whether it works or not. This is the only avenue that we think is going to give real answers, not to fix it and do it in the technology. The change of—it’s not a great word, change the mindset, but I can’t find quite the best word for it. Changing frame of reference, changing how we see things, changing… Actually, that can happen quite quickly. It can happen in a moment. How do we help this moment happen faster for more people?

Deena: In the ways that we are with each other and talk with each other. And I don’t know that pragmatic answer. I’m right up against it now with ReVisioning Medicine. I know that if medicine gets changed—medicine as a culture, the way we are, the medical practice determines so many things without knowing it, our sense of having to live contained, disconnected, hygienically, or the fear of anything. And our antibiotics, and our wars on cancer, and all of that. If we change medicine and the way medicine thinks, everything can shift. How do we get that out to, say, billions of people? I don’t know. And I also know that change happens in intimacy. That is a difference of like in ReVersing Extinction. There are twenty-five of us sitting together. That’s not two hundred and fifty people in a room. How do we do that? I don’t know. So I’m asking Spirit. And all of this came to me. Not all of it, but much of this came to me this morning. And then we had a podcast. So thank you, Spirit. It was like Spirit said, “Okay, rou’re gonna be talking to a lot of people, so I’m gonna give you a few things to say.”

Susan: And you and I have a connection. So it’s almost like, you know, Spirit to you, to me, to you.

Deena: Absolutely. Yeah.

Susan: That’s a lovely thought.

Deena: I don’t know if this is the answer. I know it’s not the only answer, but I know it it’s one that merits devotion. And it doesn’t stop anyone from taking the plastic out of the ocean. And it blesses them for doing it. And maybe it gives them support for doing it. Maybe energy comes to them.

I want to ask a question to the people who are listening. I want them to hold this question. Actually, I guess it’s two questions. It started off this way. I know that the animals are calling to us actively and I would like the listeners to think about how they actually know that, too. What experiences they’ve had that could really be understood in terms of a direct call from the or an animal or natural being to them. Or to us. And I guess it’s the same about Spirit. What experiences have they had? I’m going to make it direct. What experiences have you had that, in your heart of hearts, is irrefutable about the presence of spirit? Or something beyond us that somehow was directly connected to you. And brought you another—if even momentary—consciousness or vision. And of course, we know that in this culture, many people are not allowed to speak of these things in this way. So they have these experiences, but they repress them because they don’t fit in with certain religious dogmas. And so people actually, more than we know, are walking around torn apart.

Susan: Yeah.

Deena: But when I have asked these questions in groups, the stories start pouring out. From the most unexpected people, you know.

Susan: Yeah.

Deena: Right?

Susan: Yeah.

Deena: Our stereotypes.

Susan: Yeah

Deena: You get it.

Susan: Yeah. Krista told me a story while we were at the ReVersing Extinction Retreat about how she was running in the woods. And then she crossed a river, and then had a leg up, I think, on the railing, stretching. And suddenly, there was a great whoosh. And the trees and the water and the wind all came together in this great whoosh. And she heard, “Everything has to change.” And she was so moved by it, she instantly ran back and then I think she changed her dissertation topic and then changed what she taught. And she said that originally, she thought it was everything must change in her life, and later she came to understand everything must change. Like what I talk about, the 180-degree flip and what we give meaning.

Deena: Right. And if spirit or something says everything must change, that must mean that it can. Because why would they tell us that? If they couldn’t, they’re not cynical. But if we don’t try, if we don’t take that on as a challenge, well, then it might not.

Susan: It’s interesting, at this conference, there was this guy who was talking about—he’s an economist, a very high-level economist, talking about zero carbon emissions. And suddenly I heard out of his mouth, “Everything must change.” So I think I’m going to call him. I wonder, can Spirit go that way? Or is it just that we’re all realizing the same thing, that really everything must change everything? And it starting to read it, how the capitalist system doesn’t work and all of it. I don’t know if that’s how spirit works. It sort of infiltrates all kinds of different directions. But they were the exact same words that she used.

Deena: Yeah. So here we are again with Rupert Sheldrake, right, and it rains down. Everything must change. For all we know, that’s being said all over the planet. Different people in their language and their understanding. So what if you called him and told him Krista’s story?

Susan: I’m going to. I thought of it at the conference and then of course, got busy, and now that I mentioned it again, I just made a note here. I’m going to call him and ask him.

Deena: Tell him. Say, I heard you say this. Let me tell you a story.

Susan: Yes, I’m going to do that, right.

Deena: So you don’t have to ask him anything, right?

Susan: Right.

Deena: Yeah. Tell him about ReVersing Extinction.

Susan: I’ll tell him that’s where I heard it.

Deena: Right.

Susan: I was gonna ask you if you wanted to share how it came to you, what it means, what ReVersing Extinction is.

Deena: I don’t know if I know clearly, I know I’m anguished. I know that the elephants called me, they’re too many stories to tell about that, both my being with them and also their calls. One of the calls came from India. When I began to see how the elephants were so out of their minds that they were really attacking humans because they had no habitat, or something like that. Anyway, the whole thing, the elephants came to me. I’ve been with them for the last 20 years in one way or another, many times in Africa. And I can’t bear it because in some way they are my people like the bears and others are your people. And one day I was just beside myself and I threw myself down on the ground. Oh, I remember now. Okay. There was a drought of elephants. A drought in Mali. Terrible drought like there is now. The elephants in Zimbabwe are dying of thirst. And for the first time in my life, I asked for a dream. What should I do? What can we do? We must stop this. And I got a dream. And in that dream, there were a group of us, we were all different from different traditions. And we all came together on our separate prayer rugs. And it was clear that if we agreed to really, really pray at the same time for the same focus—in this case ending the drought in Mali, or anywhere, that was killing the animals—that we would call to spirit at the same time. In that deep heart way, that’s what we were called to. And so thinking about this or remembering this, I guess it’s a year and a half ago, I found myself down on the ground just weeping and praying. What can we do? What can we do? Help us, please help us. And the Spirit said two things. One, you are doing what you need to do. I said, what’s that? They said, asking us to be with you with this. And the other was gather them—gather the people to do it together in this way. So the Spirits and community. No great hero. We’ve got to do it together. That’s why when you’re talking about this man, I’m picturing how do we pull him into this consciousness? What are we going to invite him into?

Susan: You know, I want to talk to him. So he’s an economist in the middle of all capitalist stuff and huge investments, World Bank, and all that kind of stuff. And he said one other thing while he was talking, just as an aside. This was a little workshop with another brilliant guy, actually. And he said, “When I was a kid, I took my 25 cents allowance every week and sent it to World Wildlife Fund.” I’ll never forget that. The rest of it was all this high economic stuff, but that stuck with me. He’s getting a phone call from me. Yes.

Deena: Oh, yes. I bet he’s going to come and visit you here.

Susan: Maybe.

Deena: I suspect he may at some point get an invitation to come be with the animals.

Susan: So this has been a long conversation but very, very rich, Deena.

Deena: And I’m crying. I have been all the way through this, which also happens when Spirit comes through. So an ending is everything must change, and we can do it together with the spirits and the natural world.

Susan: I believe we can. I don’t know if we will. We might. But I believe we can.

Deena: We can. You have to believe we can.

Susan: Yeah.

Deena: We might be disappointed at the end. We might be grieving when we die, but we have to believe we can and act accordingly.

Susan: It makes no difference. Nothing makes any difference except that we try. We don’t know the ending. We just have to try.

Deena: And it’s a good way to live.

Susan: Excellent way to live. So I thank you for this wonderful, wonderful, wonderful conversation. It’s delicious.

Deena: Beautiful. Thank you.

Susan: So I think we should do this again. I think this is absolutely luscious, rich.

Deena: Yeah. Yeah.

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